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TRUMPALISCIOUS

Donald Trump has a burgeoning new “grass-roots army” who pine for him to run for president in 2012. Who knew? There are numbers to back it up, reflected in a star-spangled website (www.shouldtrumprun.com) for Trumpaphiles convinced the billionaire has the business acumen, political calling and inner mettle to join the campaign fray.

“He’s a populist. As close to Ronald Reagan as I’ve seen in any candidate. When you watch his media appearances, he’s talking right to you. Reagan had that and so does Trump,” says Michael Cohen, a special counsel and executive vice president within the Trump Organization, who launched the effort on his own.

“When Trump talks, he’s fresh, he’s honest and he shares the same concerns as the common man,” Mr. Cohen continues. “Our current president and leaders have taken us off track and have sold out our future to foreign interests. Our economy is a disaster with staggering unemployment numbers and a deficit that is unsustainable. Trump is unafraid to tell Americans the honest truth on where we stand today as a nation, on issues they care about, including unemployment, gas prices, China, Libya, Mexico, India.”

Mr. Cohen created the site with the help of billionaire pharmaceutical entrepreneur and philanthropist Stewart Rahr to “develop a grass-roots army of Americans who want to put this country back in the right direction,” Mr. Cohen says.

“As of Wednesday, we’ve had over 425,000 visitors to the site, all asking the trillion dollar question: Will Trump run in 2012? My hope and the hope of these people is a resounding ‘yes.’ We need a new leader who will stop apologizing to foreign dignitaries for our superpower status, bring jobs back to America and ensure that this country becomes respected again,” Mr. Cohen adds.

FOXED

Oh, the testy, pesky rigors of the presidential trail. Insiders say rumors of Newt Gingrich’s imminent transformation from “former House speaker” to “presidential candidate” prompted Fox News to finally silence critics who claimed that the network’s habit of employing politicians as on-camera contributors was a violation of media ethics. Mr. Gingrich’s contract with Fox has been suspended for 60 days, along with that of fellow White House hopeful Rick Santorum.

Other cuts could follow. Fox contributors John Bolton, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee are all potential 2012 candidates

“Think of it this way,” says one source. “There are a dozen Republican hopefuls in the mix. This is like a reality check that separates the viable few from those who make a career out of hinting they’re going to run.”

JAY STREET

Aw, Jay, we hardly knew ye.

Behold, the terse e-mail sent to slavering press from busy White House at 12:03 p.m. Wednesday:

“Updated Briefing Schedule: 1:00 p.m. Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

And behold the terse e-mail sent to slavering press from busy White House at 12:07 p.m. Wednesday:

CORRECTED UPDATE: Press Secretary Jay Carney to hold briefing at 1:00 p.m. EST.”

DOING THE MATH

Go easy now. Don’t want any Democrats swooning. The two-week funding measure passed by Congress is not a bad way to ease the swooners toward $61 billion in budget cuts, increment by increment, million by million.

“The Democrats realize that if they stand against a $4 billion cut against a $3.8 trillion deficit, that is an unsustainable position. We pro-rate these, so this $4 billion is two weeks’ work. If we did four weeks, it would be $8 billion. We’re fine going down that path. It gets us to the same destination,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan during a visit to Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday.

The White House is willing to spring for the $8 billion while House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t consider $4 billion, he noted.

“I definitely see some friction on their side of the aisle on this. What it tells me is that they realize that defending their spending binge is an indefensible position. The Obama ‘freeze’ in the budget is nothing more than a floor designed to lock in their spending levels,” the Wisconsin Republican observed.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS

Journalists and politicians are not the only ones to get frisky with social media. Some physicians who are regular users of Twitter are “disseminating unethical and unprofessional content,” says Dr. Katherine Chretien, associate professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences, in research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

She pored over 5,000 tweets from 260 doctors during one month last year, to find that 3 percent included profanity, potential patient privacy violations, sexually explicit material or discriminatory statements.

Uh-oh.

Wait, there’s more. One percent included unsupported claims about a product they were selling on their website or promotions of specific health products; 10 statements countered existing medical knowledge or guidelines, potentially leading to patient harm.

POLL DU JOUR

• 63 percent of Americans say their “sympathies” lie with Israelis rather than Palestinians.

• 80 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats side with Israelis.

• 74 percent of conservatives and 49 percent of liberals agree.

• 17 percent of Americans overall sympathize with the Palestinians.

• 7 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Democrats agree.

• 9 percent of conservatives and 30 percent of Democrats side with the Palestinians.

• 20 percent overall side with “both or neither” or have no opinion.

Source: A Gallup poll of 1,015 adults conducted Feb. 2 to 5 and released Wednesday.

Aces, jokers, trump cards to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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